The Korea Baseball Organization’s video review judges have admitted fault for a missed call, saying they misunderstood the rules and made an incorrect judgment.
But Thursday night, in a game at Ulsan Stadium between the Lotte Giants and Samsung Lions, the video review judges made a considerable mistake. With Lotte trailing 4-1 in the third inning, Lotte right fielder Son Ah-seop hit a ball to deep left-center that hit the top of the fence and crowd safety railing before bouncing back into the outfield.
The umpires on the field signaled for a home run, and Son, who had stopped at second base, circled the bases. But Samsung’s manager called for a review, and the review center overturned the call and awarded a double. Lotte protested the call, but by KBO rules, judgments made at the video review center cannot be overturned. Though replays clearly showed the ball passing the yellow line at the top of the fence and leaving the field of play, the decision stood.
Lotte Giants right fielder Son Ah-seop confers with an umpire during video review of his hit in yesterday's game. (Yonhap)
A similar situation has occurred at Ulsan Stadium before. In April 2014, Lee Seung-yeop hit a ball that similarly topped the fence’s yellow line before bouncing back into the field of play. In that instance, while the field umpires ruled for a double, the video review center overturned the call and Lee was given a home run.
The video review center’s failure to understand the precedent and field rules at Ulsan Stadium likely cost Lotte the victory. The game ended in a 4-4 tie, and Son’s would-be homer would have made the difference.
Though the KBO has had video review for four years now, the current off-field video review system is new this season. In the wake of the missed decision there have been calls from fans and observers, including kt Wiz manager Kim Jin-wook, to make the video review center’s decision-making process public, holding the judges accountable for their decisions and demystifying the process.
By Alex Park / Intern reporter (email@example.com)